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Door of No Return

Written and performed by Nehassaiu deGannes

Aug 18, 2017
8:30PM - 10:30PM

Partly autobiographical, but drawing primarily on historical research and present-day interviews, Door of No Return courageously excavates the rich, complex but often silenced multicultural legacies of New England.

Nehassaiu deGannes is a trickster/shaman figure voicing experiences of immigration, displacement, enslavement, and resistance from a brilliant multiplicity of perspectives. Drawing on her Caribbean heritage and Canadian upbringing, her visits to West Africa, and her arrival in Rhode Island, Nehassaiu criss-crosses time and space to bring us stories from the 18th century and the Triangle Trade, as well as unexpected contemporary narratives. Here in one room are: Marie Angelique, enslaved in Montreal but very likely purchased in Rhode Island, a young Columbian man defying 21st century expectations, an Iraqi-American woman re-inventing herself post 9-11, indentured Wampanoag, and the slave dungeons of Cape Coast. Door of No Return defies the segregation of American histories and invites us all to stand at the crossroads.

The show runs 90 minutes without an intermission. There will be a talkback with Nehassaiu after the performance.

“Nehassaiu deGannes is tremendous. At times, she’s from Jamaica, then Ghana, then Cape Verde, or Senegal. Or else she’s a Native American, or a hyphenated modern American: Puerto Rican, Laotian, French, Irish, Scotch or Arabic. She’s rich; she’s poor. She’s young; she’s old. She’s woman; she’s man…. But the reason you watch or listen… is for an emotional connection, which deGannes amply provides.”
—Providence Journal

Nehassaiu is also featured in Lynn Nottage's Intimate Apparel this Season.

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Shakespeare & Company is a professional live theatre company in the heart of the Berkshires, presenting a vibrant summer performance season featuring the works of Shakespeare in repertory with classic and contemporary plays. The Company offers one of the most extensive actor training programs by a regional theatre in the country, and is also home to an award-winning and nationally recognized theatre-in-education program.